Since baseball’s offseason officially began three weeks ago on Nov. 7, the free agent market has been in the doldroms. Little activity has transpired, and as a result, the league’s best available players are still awaiting contract bids from clubs. It’s been quiet … real quiet.
Well, perhaps this tidbit can heat up the stove again.
Although the Yankees’ search for a new manager and the pursuit of Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani remain important issues that the franchise must address imminently, general manager Brian Cashman has still assembled a roster that’s equipped for championship contention in 2018. The timing is quite convenient, too, as a star-studded free agent class is expected to arrive in 2019.
With that in mind, ex-Mets general manager and MLB.com columnist Jim Duquette recently wrote a piece on potential blockbuster deals that involve soon-to-be free agents, and one trade idea involved the Yankees acquiring All-Star third baseman Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles.
So, who would New York yield? Duquette’s hypothetical asking price is baseball’s top prospect, Gleyber Torres.
Trading Machado within the division to New York would be a tough sell to the O’s fan base, but the Yankees are a perfect fit for Machado, given that they don’t have a long-term solution at the hot corner and will likely be a front-runner for his services next year when he hits free agency. If the Yanks would part with shortstop Gleyber Torres, the No. 1 prospect in the game who is coming off Tommy John surgery, that would make it enticing for the Orioles. Both sides would be equally uncomfortable in a deal like that, which usually means it makes plenty of sense.
Although Duquette’s price of Torres seems a tad steep, his stance isn’t half-baked. The Yankees will soon need to determine who will assume third base duties in the future, and Machado will be a candidate for the job. But, with New York planning to get under the luxury tax threshold next winter (when Machado will be a free agent), perhaps Cashman will take out the checkbook then, and pair Machado with Torres in 2019.
In 2017, Machado slashed .259/.310/.471 with 33 home runs and 95 RBI. The 25-year-old also posted a 3.5 WAR, according to BaseballReference. Torres, who underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery on his left elbow this past June, is expected to be ready for spring training, according to multiple reports.